For the 2017 hurricane season, residents can expect more useful storm information, including crucial storm surge watches and warnings, the National Hurricane Center said.

Also planned, graphics forecasting the time of arrival of tropical storm force winds to aid residents' storm preparations.

Having separate storm surge and wind warnings will allow local officials to more effectively advise residents and improve safety, the center said.

Storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a tropical system, the hurricane center said, adding that the hazard doesn’t always occur at the same times or locations as a storm’s hazardous winds.

Storm surge definitions will include "watch" when the possibility of rising water exists within 48 hours and "warning" when there's imminent danger of life-threatening inundation.

The arrival of sustained tropical storm force winds is a critical planning threshold for coastal communities, the center noted, as many preparedness activities become difficult or dangerous once winds reach tropical storm force.


Hypothetical example of the new "earliest arrival time of tropical storm force winds" map that will be issued by the National Weather Service when hurricanes or tropical storms threaten to make landfall. (Map provided by the National Weather Service)